Machine 8

Photo: @naletu

My hands keep getting cold. I shove them into my pockets. I am wearing sweat pants. A flannel shirt. A black knit hat. Amerika is everywhere. Proselytizing. Selling. Electronic mass surveillance. Totalitarian capitalism. Coupons for Pizza Hut. Tickets to Disneyland. Promo codes for Amazon.

Zoë gave me a promo code for a blowjob. 

I used it.

We are consumers. We are makers. We are spectators. 

We are artists.

Where is your paycheck coming from? Just asking. Might affect your politics. Your situation. Your circumstance. Everybody begins at the beginning. Or do they? Are you a beginner? A pro?

Greenwald might go to prison in Brazil. This is so crazy. The Amerikas are crazy.

I ate beef today. That was a mistake. Where did the beef come from? I had no idea. It came in a plastic package. A pouch. We ate tortillas. Black beans. Coconut milk rice. Salsa.

I cleaned the black carbon filters in the Berkey water dispenser. I scrubbed them with the scratchy side of a blue Scotch sponge. Just like the YouTube video recommended. I am a genius.  

I got 206 bones with arthritis. Now what? Even my boner has arthritis.

$357 left in the bank account. Now what? Does it get any better? Can I afford to be a person?

I sat at a machine and I thought nothing.

Sleep, dear sleeper.

Machine consciousness. Is that what I am? Nothing more. Nothing less. The neighborhood is quiet. I am nothingless. The bank account is a burst of laughter. I am reeling. Unspooling.

We played a splendid game called hide-the-kielbasa.

Zoë kept glancing over her bare shoulder. I guess to check on my progress. Coming? Not yet.

Novels get in the way of novels. The big idea. The big think. You never know when it is going to happen. So you wait. Like a fisherman. Sometimes you have to surfcast. Lure the Kraken. Scream at the water. Wait for the ripples. The whirlpool. The rise of the great sea monster.

I live inside my mind like a lighthouse keeper.

Are you just a story you tell yourself? 

Things happen. 

So what. 

Pretty important to me. The being. I like it. The way it tastes. The fragility. The vulnerability.

Put your shoes together. Run run run run. You’ll be on the horizon in no time. Feel it. The curve of the earth. Life itself. 

There I go again. Not really here. Not really there. A lingering of previous selves. Echoes and hallucinations. Thunderclaps. Zoë’s ass against my thighs. Craving for one more go. Under the eiderdown. On the kitchen floor. In the backseat of a Buick. The Hudson is flooding. Up up up.

Forget language. It distorts. Underwhelms. And yet I am a fool for words. Lispector speaks of red ochre and yellow ochre. I see it. I can see it! And really, what do I see? A vague abstraction projected inside my skull. I am still alive. I think. At least that. So long as I am thinking & writing. Shortcuts to Nirvana. Take the switchbacks. Take the meandering road. Ululations.

Her clitoris erupted in an electric frenzy as if Zig had plucked the string of a cello.

I wonder if anybody is a good example of themselves.

I miss drawing. I miss being.

I miss the cigarette. I miss the ashtray. I miss the glass of beer. Everything is forbidden. I forbade.

I almost became me.

I had to leave empty space.

I needed room.

I left. I fled. A becoming. Experiments in being. Quantum entanglement. She was more beautiful. I was the observer. Engaged. Detached. Everything at once. I surrendered. Squeezed buttocks. 

I destroyed my body. Now I eat spinach.

Is there anything left of me? 

I begin again.

Unsolved problems. I have more than a few. My skills are lagging.

The 88-day orbit of Mercury is on my mind. Not sure why. Faster year? Hotter planet?

She opened her legs. She had ginger-ale hair. We made love like never before. It was the greatest night of my life.

This is almost where the book begins. Right here. Now. In your face. At your feet. We are prostrate creatures. Undulating. Becoming. Sea cucumbers. Electric eels. Tentacles of a jellyfish.

I get so angry at nothing.

Achilles’ heel.

Aphrodite’s cock.

The progress we have made is astonishing. Remember? Remember when we were beginners?

Too bad. Whatever. Goodbye. Haha!

Machine poet

People just sitting in cars. All across Amerika. Across the planet. In parking lots. Alone. Just thinking. If that is what this is. Like me.

This is a solitude machine. I get away from my family. My beautiful wife. My beautiful kids. Everybody is going bonkers in the apartment.

I am sipping coffee. Trying to get rid of my thinker’s headache. Getting ready to play tennis. Against people I barely know. I’ll let you know how it goes.

It was okay. Just okay. Ever feel that way?

People are curious beings. What makes them tick? Are we machines? Are we flesh? The vulnerability of it all.

I am riding in a subway car. Is it better than an automobile? Yes and no. I am without satellite radio. Beyond control. 

Anything can happen.

The text. The text. I must stop reading. I must stop writing. Forgetting the Being. The rawness of life. The hurt. The squirm.

We are apologists.

“Take care, brother!” That is what the coffee guy said. I forgot I owed him money. I apologized. Felt bad.

What am I? A forgetter?

Gonna make myself a little better. Put on some fresh new clothes. Get a fancy friggin haircut. Alligator boots. Chinchilla mittens. A walking stick.

Sex has its ramifications. We had just finished. It had been quite incredible. Neither of us had believed such things possible. We lay there. As naked as Adam & Eve.

The protagonist Zig was giving life a go. We erase everything. Memory. Experience. Zig had to refabricate everything. From scratch. From Nothingness.

His first girlfriend sat on him. She gave him something to think about for the rest of his life. Butt-lifts and rabbit hops. The electric frenzy. Zig never quite recovered.

Are you a television child?

I am not really me. How could I be?

I tied my shoes in the Czechoslovakian style. I walked downstairs. Onto the street. The asphalt felt good. Everybody was happy. It was Thursday.

Everything was possible. Friday might happen. I thought so too. Only the naysayers were gloomy. Predicting apocalypse. I needed to get away from negativity.

I was zooming. Hiphop stepping. Electric zigzags. Thinking and rethinking. I was a cosmic thinker. A thought without a thinker.

Paper bags of groceries. Nuts. Muesli. Blue corn chips. Salsa.

You are the rider.

I know you rider.

It just gets creepy. Riding the rails. Sidestepping the psychopaths.

People stare. Straight ahead. Through your head. Reading the subway map. There is no guide in the Underground. Virgil has evacuated.

I am a poet. I am a machine. I am a machine poet.

Zig & Zoë. We appropriated and repurposed each other’s orgasms. Cosmic echoes. Howls of the Universe. 

We engaged in carnal intercourse with a relish not seen in human beings in millennia.

The Kraken keeps peeping up through the surface of the whirlpooling waters of Hell Gate. 

I see you.

You see me?

8808 words creeps me out. But here we are. Wait until we get to 88808!

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